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Amtrak Derailment: Train was Traveling at 80-mph in 30-mph Zone Before Crash

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Cars from an Amtrak train lay spilled onto Interstate 5 below as some train cars remain on the tracks above on Monday in DuPont, Wash.  Elaine Thompson/AP

The train that careened off a bridge outside Tacoma, Washington, killing three people was traveling at 80 mph on a 30-mph stretch of track, federal investigators confirmed late Monday.

During a late-night briefing with reporters, NTSB board member Bella Dinh-Zarr added that Train 501 of Amtrak’s Cascades service from Seattle headed south to Portland, Oregon, was carrying 80 passengers, three crew and two service personnel.

She said it was “too early to tell” why the train was travelling at 80 mph.

“We were glad that we were able to get the data from the event data recorder from the rear locomotive,” she said at the briefing. “The front locomotive as you can imagine is a bit more difficult to access.”

At a news conference late Monday Pacific Time, NTSB board member Bella Dinh-Zarr said the speed of the train at the time of the accident had been determined by downloading the Event Data Recorder from the train’s rear locomotive.

The National Transportation Safety Board says an Amtrak passenger train that derailed from an overpass south of Tacoma, Wash., leaving at least three people dead, was traveling at 80 mph in a 30 mph zone.

Train 501 of Amtrak’s Cascades service from Seattle to Portland was on its maiden run of a faster-speed service when it careened off the track at a curve at DuPont on Monday. Thirteen of the train’s 14 cars came off the tracks. In addition to the three people killed in the accident, dozens of people — train passengers, crew and those in vehicles on the ground — were injured, Washington State Patrol spokesman Dan Hall said. Ten of those hurt were in serious condition, four had moderate injuries and another nine suffered minor injuries, he said.

Asked whether the NTSB had any theories as to why the train was traveling so fast in the 30 mph track zone, Dinh-Zarr told reporters, “It’s too early to tell.”

She said one of the questions that investigators hoped to answer in interviews with the crew was whether the engineer was aware of the speed limit in the corridor where the accident occurred.

Dinh-Zarr said the NTSB was checking to see whether the positive train control, or PTC, was installed on the stretch of track in question. PTC is a system designed to automatically stop a train in certain dangerous situations.

According to reports, it was the first time the train had plied a new, more direct and faster route on tracks known as the Point Defiance Bypass, which are owned by the Sound Transit agency.

The Washington State Department of Transportation says the Federal Railroad Administration funded and reviewed recent upgrades to the tracks.”

The new route eliminates the speed-sapping corners and tunnels on the more scenic route that ran along Puget Sound.

In total, the project’s budget was nearly $181 million and has been in the works for about a decade, according to Will James of member station KNKX in Tacoma.

The Washington State Department of Transportation had billed the service “as a more frequent, more reliable, and faster Amtrak Cascades service.”

But some local officials were skeptical of the new service, questioning whether the trains would be safe at higher speeds. Earlier this month, the mayor of Lakewood, a suburb of Tacoma, predicted a deadly accident.

Mayor Don Anderson said the addition of grade separations, such as overpasses, to keep trains, cars and pedestrians separated, was needed.

“Come back when there is that accident, and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements, or you can go back now and advocate for the money to do it, because this project was never needed and endangers our citizens,” Anderson was quoted by KOMO News.

Last month, the NTSB issued a report saying Amtrak had a “deficient” safety culture.

“Amtrak’s safety culture is failing and is primed to fail again, until and unless Amtrak changes the way it practices safety management,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said in a statement on Nov. 14.

On May 12, 2015, an Amtrak Northwest Regional train derailed In Philadelphia, killing at least seven people and injuring more than 200 passengers. A year later, NTSB concluded that a distracted engineer was to blame.

 

 

#LeNoraMillen         12-19-17

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Lifestyle

Dodge MLK Super Bowl Ad Sparks Controversy

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A Dodge Super Bowl ad has attracted criticism for its use of a sermon by Martin Luther King Jr. to sell trucks.

The ad featured a section of King’s The Drum Major Instinct sermon delivered February 4, 1968, overtop images of American patriotism, including America’s military and other service jobs like teachers and firefighters.

“If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant,” King is heard saying in the ad. “That’s a new definition of greatness.”

The ad, which ran in support of the Ram Nation volunteer program, also featured images of Dodge trucks. On airing, it began to get immediate blowback.

“The use of MLK to promote Ram trucks strikes many people as crass and inappropriate,” Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University told the Associated Press.

Bernice A. King, the youngest child of the civil rights leader and his wife Coretta Scott King urged people to listen to the sermon “in its entirety.”

“Please listen to/read his speeches, sermons, and writings. Understand his comprehensive teachings and his global perspective. Study his nonviolent philosophy. It’s more than a tactic,” she tweeted, providing a link to the sermon.

A social media user took that message to heart and created a different version of the ad with King’s warning to his congregation from the same sermon that advertisers pressure them to buy more than they can afford, playing on their selfishness and the “drum major instinct” that pushes them to prove that they are better than others.

King said: “They have a way of saying things to you that kind of gets you into buying. In order to be a man of distinction, you must drink this whiskey. In order to make your neighbors envious, you must drive this type of car. In order to be lovely to love, you must wear this kind of lipstick or this kind of perfume. And you know, before you know it, you’re just buying that stuff (…) That’s the way the advertisers do it.”

King said people end up living “their lives trying to outdo the Joneses” rather than building communities around themselves.

The Dodge ad also appeared to some to contradict what King stood for as he famously argued for U.S. military spending to be cut and instead go to programs that served the poorest Americans.

“Are MLK’s words really being used right now to sell cars?” wrote Nicholas Thompson, the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine in response to the ad on Twitter.

The King Center distanced itself from the ad, pointing out it was not responsible for approving the use of King’s image and words,

Fiat Chrysler said it worked with King’s estate on the ad, which licenses King’s image and speeches, and is run by King’s son Dexter Scott King. The estate’s managing director, Eric D. Tidwell, said in a statement early Monday: “We found that the overall message of the ad embodied Dr. King’s philosophy that true greatness is achieved by serving others. Thus we decided to be a part of Ram’s ‘Built To Serve’ Super Bowl program.”

Source: Newsweek

@LeNoraMillen            02-05-18

 

 

 

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Legendary Performer and Civil Rights Activist Lena Horne Honored on New Forever Stamp

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The U.S. Postal Service celebrates the life and legacy of Lena Horne as the 41st honoree in the Black Heritage stamp series during a first-day-of-issue ceremony at Peter Norton Symphony Space.

“Today, we honor the 70-year career of a true American legend,” said Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman, who dedicated the stamp. “With this Forever stamp, the Postal Service celebrates a woman who used her platform as a renowned entertainer to become a prolific voice for civil rights advancement and gender equality.”

Joining Stroman to unveil the stamp were Gail Lumet Buckley, an author and Horne’s daughter; Christian Steiner, photographer; and Amy Niles, president and chief executive officer, WBGO Radio.

The stamp art features a photograph of Lena Horne taken by Christian Steiner in the 1980s. Kristen Monthei colorized the original black-and-white photo using a royal blue for the dress, a color Horne frequently wore. Monthei also added a background reminiscent of Horne’s Stormy Weather album, with a few clouds to add texture and to subtly evoke the album title. Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamp. Share the news of the stamp using the hashtags #LenaHorneForever and #BlackHeritageStamps.

Background on Lena Horne

Born in Brooklyn, NY, on June 30, 1917, Horne was a trailblazer in Hollywood for women of color and used her fame to inspire Americans as a dedicated activist for civil rights.

Horne began her career as a dancer at Harlem’s Cotton Club and later became a featured vocalist with touring orchestras. The rampant racial discrimination she encountered from audiences, hotel and venue managers and others was so disconcerting that she stopped touring, and in 1941, she made her move to Hollywood. A year later, she signed a contract with MGM — one of the first long-term contracts with a major Hollywood studio — with the stipulation that she would never be asked to take stereotypical roles then available to black actors. Her most famous movie roles were in Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather, both released in 1943.

During World War II, Horne entertained at camps for black servicemen, and after the war worked on behalf of Japanese Americans who were facing discriminatory housing policies. She worked with Eleanor Roosevelt in pressing for anti-lynching legislation. In the 1960s, Horne continued her high-profile work for civil rights, performing at rallies in the South, supporting the work of the National Council for Negro Women, and participating in the 1963 March on Washington.

Horne’s awards and honors include a special Tony Award for her one-woman Broadway show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music; three Grammy Awards; the NAACP Spingarn Medal; and the Actors Equity Paul Robeson Award. She was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient in 1984, and her name is among those on the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.

Customers may purchase the Lena Horne Forever stamp at The Postal Store at usps.com/shop, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Office facilities nationwide. A variety of stamps and collectibles also are available at ebay.com/stamps.

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain first-day-of-issue postmarks by mail. They may purchase new stamps at local Post Office facilities, at The Postal Store usps.com/shop or by phone at 800-STAMP-24. They must affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in envelopes addressed to:

FDOI – Lena Horne Stamp
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO 64144-9900

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for postmarks up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, customers are charged 5 cents each. All orders must be postmarked by March 30, 2018.

Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamps and stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the USA Philatelic Publication and online at usps.com/shop. Customers may register to receive a free USA Philatelic Publication online at usps.com/philatelic.

Philatelic Products
Philatelic products for this stamp issue are as follows:
476906, Press Sheet with Die-cut, $60.00.
476910, Digital Color Postmark Keepsake, $11.95.
476916, First-Day Cover, $0.94.
476921, Digital Color Postmark, $1.65.
476924, Framed Art, $39.95.
476930, Ceremony Program, $6.95.

Many of this year’s other stamps may be viewed on Facebook at facebook.com/USPSStamps or via Twitter @USPSstamps.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund its operations.

For more information about the Postal Service, visit usps.com and usps.com/postalfacts.

Source: USPS

@LeNoraMillen       02-02-18

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Coffee Shops Considering Displaying Cancer Warnings in California After Lawsuit

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A nonprofit who believes coffee could cause cancer has persuaded businesses, by way of a lawsuit, to issue warnings on all ready-to-drink brews sold in California.

At least 13 companies, most recently 7-Eleven, have settled with the Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT) following its 2010 lawsuit, and promised to add warnings to served coffee, CNN reports.

The suit asks for the warning to say this is a “chemical known to cause cancer” or “chemical that causes cancer” in a label at least 10-inches by 10-inches in the establishment.

Metzger Law Group, which represents CERT, is trying to shine the light on acrylamide, a probable carcinogen, in coffee. What makes this request particularly potent in California is Proposition 65, the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, which requires businesses to be transparent about harmful ingredients, including acrylamide.

The Good, Bad, and Ugly on California Prop 65

Prop 65 came about from a growing concern that many chemicals may cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. Under Prop 65, chemicals identified by the state as having even a 1 in 100,000 chance of causing such harm may not be discharged into drinking water or onto land where they could contaminate sources of drinking water. In addition, manufacturers are required to post clear and reasonable warnings on any products, or in any locations, that could “knowingly and intentionally” expose consumers to any of these listed chemicals. California is required to update the list of harmful chemicals annually. As of 2015, the list includes around 900 chemicals, some of which are monitored by the FDA and EPA

When coffee beans are roasted, acrylamide forms and scientists haven’t found good ways to reduce its presence in the beverage, according to a post on the American Cancer Society website.

Still, Ronald Melnick, a former toxicologist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences provided a testimony about possible ways to reduce the chemical in coffee, including altering plant selection, harvesting and/or the pre-roasting process, as part of the California trial.

Reducing or eliminating the toxin is CERT’s goal, Raphael Metzger of Metzger Law Group said.

“CERT believes the best resolution of the case would be for the coffee industry to get the acrylamide out of coffee rather than giving acrylamide cancer hazard warnings,” Metzger said in a statement.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, and the National Toxicology Program does not recognize coffee as a carcinogen. The only documented link to cancer is the IARC finding that hot beverages (at least 149 degrees) “probably” cause cancer of the esophagus.

Source: The Associated Press

Photo/Getty Images

@LeNoraMillen      02-01-18

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